Boston Veggie

Dining out- Prudential Center
October 13, 2009, 2:11 pm
Filed under: Restaurant reviews

Dining Out: The Prudential Center

PrudentialSo you’ve got friends coming into town and you’re trying to plan a nice dinner for everyone. You’re vegan, you have 1 other vegan friend, and the rest eat whatever they want. Where should you go to dinner?

While Boston is severely lacking in strictly vegan restaurants, it does have plenty of veg-friendly options in non-veg settings. Our first stop will be at the Prudential Center.

If you’ve ever been to the Pru, you know that it consists of mostly chain restaurants, making it even easier to look up a menu and plan your meal. The Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Changs, California Pizza Kitchen, Legal Sea Foods, and the new Wagamama’s all have vegan friendly options. Who knew? (I should disclose now, I have no ties to these corporations. None of them are paying me, though if anyone from these restaurants would like to start paying me, I will gladly accept and disclose my relationship with them at that time… until then I’m just recommending what I like).

*Note: anything I recommend is not cooked with meat, dairy or eggs. However, many vegans also exclude honey from their diet. I don’t. So some of these things may have honey in the ingredients.

The Cheesecake Factory


Thai Lettuce wraps– no chicken
Description (without chicken): Carrots, Bean Sprouts, Coconut Curry Noodles and Lettuce Leaves with three delicious Spicy Thai Sauces – Peanut, Sweet Red Chili and Tamarind-Cashew.

Guacamole Made-to-Order– no sour cream
Description (no sour cream): Ripe Avocado, Onion, Tomato, Chiles, Cilantro and Fresh Lime. Served with Tortilla Chips, and Salsa. Soooo good!

Description: A Bowl of Soy Beans Steamed in their Pods.

Not vegan, even though they sound like they could be: Avacado Egg rolls (Contains eggs), Sweet Corn Tomales (Even if you say “no sour cream,” they are cooked with both milk and eggs).


All salads can be ordered with no meat or cheese. But some of them would just be lettuce after that, so my favorite is the Fresh Vegetable Salad. Just order it with no cheese and you’ll have to get a different dressing.
Description: Asparagus, Green Beans, Tomato, Cucumber, Roasted Beets, Apple, Edamame, Radicchio, Romaine and White Cheddar with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Vegan dressings at Cheesecake Factory: Chinese, Cilantro, Citrus Vinaigrette, Japanese, Vinaigrette, Lime Vinaigrette, Peanut Vinaigrette, Shallot Vinaigrette, Asian Vinaigrette, Sheila’s Vinaigrette. All others either contain dairy or eggs or both.

IMPORTANT: I just recently found out that the Balsamic Vinaigrette at Cheesecake Factory has BEEF BROTH IN IT. So gross since I’ve totally eaten it before.

The Incredible Grilled Eggplant Sandwich with no cheese or garlic aioli on whole wheat instead of the bun it comes with. The bun contains eggs and milk, so if you don’t want whole wheat bread that’s fine but beware the bun’s contents.
Description: Grilled Japanese Eggplant, Roasted Red Peppers, Red Onion, Melted Mozzarella and Garlic Aioli on Our Toasted Bun. Served with French Fries or Green Salad.

*isn’t it great that most French Fries are vegan? Mmmmm.

Grilled Portabella Sandwich is my personal favorite thing on the menu. It is DELICIOUS. I used to get it even when I wasn’t veg, so now that I am a simple switch to no cheese and no mayo allows me to still get my favorite thing post-veg.
Description: A Giant Portabella Mushroom Served on a Bun with Lettuce, Tomato, Grilled Red Onion, Melted Cheese and Spicy Mayonnaise. Served with French Fries or Green Salad. Just order no cheese, no mayo, and a different bun and you’re good to go. I always bring Veganaise from home and even my organic ketchup because I love condiments and I will NOT live without them. Just have to be prepared!

A good vegan cop-out is usually pasta. If you’re vegetarian, there are plenty to choose from. Unfortunately all of the pasta noodles at Cheesecake Factory contain milk and eggs. Which I don’t mind at all because I loooove the Portobello.

Unfortunately no desserts are vegan either, but if you’ve ever been to Cheesecake Factory you know that their portions are massive and even the non-vegs might not be able to fit in a slice of cheesecake.

PF Changs
PF is great because they have an entirely vegetarian menu, all of which happen to be vegan as well.

Chang’s Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps
Description: Vegetables and tofu.

Spring Rolls– Vegan whether you like it or not!
Description: Vegetables including carrots and cabbage fried.

Vegetable Dumplings

Buddha’s Feast

Description: Vegetable medley with five-spice tofu served steamed or stir fried

Coconut Curry Vegetables
Description: Stir Fried mixed vegetables, crispy silken tofu, and peanuts in a vegetarian coconut curry sauce.

Stir Fried Eggplant
Description: Tossed with scallions in a savory pepper sauce.

Ma Po Tofu
Description: Sichuan’s famous dish of crispy silken tofu in a vegetarian sauce with steamed broccoli

Vegetable Chow Fun
Description: Soft, wide rice noodles and vegetables in a vegetarian sauce.

Side Dishes
Spinach stir-fried with garlic

Garlic snap peas

Spicy green beans

Wok-seared mushrooms

Sichuan-style asparagus

My personal favorites are the lettuce wraps, the spring rolls, the Vegetable Chow Fun, the Ma Po Tofu, and all of the sides. All vegan!

No vegan desserts.

*Important: Don’t be tricked into ordering the vegetable lo mein. Lo mein noodles always have eggs in them, and this specific dish is cooked with chicken broth. Unfortunately they are not available at PF Changs, but Soba noodles are available at many other Asian restaurants, have a similar consistency to lo mein noodles and are completely vegan (and made of buckwheat, which is so much better for you!)

California Pizza Kitchen
CPK as I like to abbreviate it is a treasure trove of vegan options. And no one would have ever guessed because pizza automatically conjures images of cheesey meaty goodness. And there is plenty of that on the menu, definitely. But wait until you see what good stuff is here for Veggies too!

Lettuce Wraps– no chicken
Description (without meat): Shiitake mushrooms, water chestnuts and green onions in a soy ginger sauce. Served on a bed of crispy rice noodles with a side of spicy chili-ginger sauce.

Herb-Onion Focaccia with Checca
Description: Italian-style herb-onion pizza bread hearth baked and served with a fresh combination of Roma tomatoes, basil, garlic, and extra-virgin olive oil.

Tuscan Hummus– the hummus here is amaaazzzing. I’ve had a zillion hummuses before and this one is by far the best. Ever. So good!
Description: Our original recipe of Tuscan white beans puréed with sesame, garlic, lemon and spices. Garnished with fresh Roma tomatoes, basil and garlic. Served with warm pizza-pita bread. You can even order whole wheat pita bread for extra nutrition.

Asparagus soup– no croutons
Description: A creamless vegetarian soup.

Dakota Smashed Pea and Barley Soup
Description: Hearty, vegetarian split pea with barley, carrots, onions and savory herbs. Garnished with chopped green onions.

Grilled Vegetable Salad
– this salad is great because you don’t have to say “no cheese or no meat.” Literally, it is innately vegan. So you can just say “Grilled Vegetable salad please,” and you’re done!
Description: Grilled asparagus, Japanese eggplant, zucchini, green onions and roasted corn served warm over a bed of chilled Romaine lettuce, fresh avocado and sun-dried tomatoes in a Dijon balsamic vinaigrette. Tossed upon request.

Field Greens Salad– no candied walnuts
Description: A delicious blend of field greens, pears and candied walnuts tossed in Dijon balsamic vinaigrette


Vegetarian with Japanese Eggplant– no cheese on honey wheat dough (contains honey)
Description (with no cheese): baby broccoli, grilled Japanese eggplant, roasted corn, sliced red onions, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and our tomato sauce. My favorite. SO good.

Goat Cheese with Roasted Red Peppers– no cheese or bacon.
Description (cheese and bacon omitted): Roasted red & yellow peppers, grilled Japanese eggplant, caramelized onions, Italian parsley and our tomato sauce.


Asparagus and Spinach Spaghettini– No cheese
Description (without cheese): A light pasta with sautéed asparagus, spinach, fresh tomatoes, basil and garlic.

Broccoli Sun-Dried Tomato Fusilli– No cheese
Description (without cheese): Fusilli with fresh baby broccoli, garlic, sun-dried and fresh tomatoes, and fresh thyme.


Fresh Fruit

Legal Sea Foods
While this menu’s vegan options are not as extensive, they still exist. If your friends are forcing you to go to Legal Sea Foods, at least you know you have an option. It isn’t ideal, but it is something.


Vegetarian box
Description: Asian flavored stir-fried vegetables, Thai red coconut curry sauce, cashews, tofu and brown rice

Yes, I agree these options are boring. But like I mentioned, if you are stuck with people from work or clients or friends who just really, really want Legal Sea Foods, fear not. You won’t starve!

Wagamama is an Asian restaurant with plenty of vegan options. Here’s what you can get:

Description: Freshly steamed green soy beans, the perfect complement to drinks. hold up to your mouth and squeeze the succulent beans from the pod. choose sprinkled with either salt or chili garlic salt

Grilled Asparagus
Description: Asparagus spears grilled with chili garlic salt and glazed with a citrus yakitori sauce. Garnished with black and white sesame seeds.

Miso Soup and Japanese style pickles
Description: A light dashi soup flavored with white miso paste, wakame, tofu and thin sliced scallion. Served with traditional pickles

Raw Salad
Description: A combination of mixed leaves, thin cut daikon, red onion, scallion and carrot. Served with wagamama house dressing and garnished with fried shallots.

Marinated Yasai noodle salad
Description: Marinated and grilled eggplant, portabella mushroom and zucchini, combined with caramelized red onion, roasted sweet potato, asparagus, diced tomato and mixed leaves. Served with wagamama house dressing and garnished with pickled red ginger and sesame seeds.

Moyashi Soba

Description: Whole wheat noodles in a vegetable soup topped with stir-fried tofu, button mushroom, squash, snow peas, leek, bean sprouts and garlic. Garnished with sliced scallion.

Noodle Dish
Yasai Chili Men- MY FAVORITE.
Description: Stir-fried shiitake and button mushrooms, fried tofu, squash, red onion, peppers, snow peas and scallion. Served with whole wheat noodles in a chili sauce made from chilies, ginger, garlic, onion, lemongrass, sweet red pepper and tomato.

Yasai Yaki Soba– order with  no eggs
Description: Teppan-fried whole wheat noodles with egg, red onion, scallion, garlic, button and shiitake mushroom, butternut squash, bean sprouts, and peppers. Garnished with black and white sesame seeds, fried shallots, pickled red ginger and spicy cilantro.

Rice Dish
Yasai cha han- order with no eggs
Description: Stir-fried rice with egg, butternut squash, snow peas, sweet corn, fried tofu, button and shiitake mushroom and scallion. Accompanied by a bowl of vegetarian miso soup and japanese style pickles.


I will not be reviewing Prudential restaurants in the food court, or restaurants: Top of the Hub, Sel de la terre, the Daily Grill, L’Espalier, Tossed or Haru because I’ve never been to these places and their websites did not give me a better understanding of what vegetarian options are available. But with the restaurants I have reviewed, you have plenty of options!


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